Prince George's County is bringing outdated library facilities into the 21st century.
Despite changes in the way people buy and share information, libraries and books are here to stay.
“We are packed every day,” Prince George’s County Libraries Manager Catherine Hollerbach said. “Standing room only. There aren’t enough chairs, there aren’t enough computers, there isn’t enough room in our programs. We are packed.”
“People use them as gathering places much more than ever before,” Prince George’s County Libraries Director Kathleen Teaze said.
Because of the public’s interest and available funding, Prince George’s County has built five new libraries over the past four years, with a handful of rehabs and new construction, including the branch in Hyattsville to be finished in 2015.
They've done their best to keep up, but a lot has changed in the past 50 years.
“At that time, they built libraries with maybe one electrical outlet per room and that was for the vacuum cleaner,” Teaze said. “Now we have computers in every room.”
The new 45,000-square-foot facility in South Bowie is an example of what the future holds.
While books remain the cornerstone, more than 50 computers and almost 20 iPads are available in Bowie. DVDs are stacked like paperbacks, and cyber cafes replace uncomfortable seating.
Funding for libraries comes from bonds and is voted on by county residents.